PRTC Marathoners Surive Sauna-Like Conditions

Chicago, IL; Scranton, PA

Many people know about the conditions by now. The heat and humidity took its toll on the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon. The conditions were so bad that race organizers actually canceled the race after four hours! The following is an official press release from race officials:

Due to the rising heat index and higher than expected temperatures, LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski and Medical Director Dr. George Chiampas, in cooperation with city officials, have implemented a contingency plan, as a precautionary measure, to effectively close the Marathon course at the halfway point. Runners who have not reached the halfway point by approximately 12:00 p.m. will be diverted back to Grant Park via Halsted and Jackson… Participants are asked to take advantage of medical personnel, cooling buses, runner drop out buses, water, Gatorade and other means of support en route back to Grant Park.

Amazingly, our runners posted great performances considering the conditions. Abby was 15th overall and the 7th American in the field! Tom finished 30th! Ross finished 45th! These finishes are in a field of 45,000! And our athletes posted these performances on a day when many people couldn’t even keep their feet going! It was brutal. Tom recounted that he “forgot to Vaseline my nipples and decided I needed to get that jersey off my skin around 18 miles in. Around the same time, I ran by a bank sign that read 86 degrees! Actually, Tom and Ross stuck together through the half-way point, as they were a few ticks over 1:11. This pace puts them outside of qualifying, but not with a strong second half. Of course, that would be a strong second half on a day where conditions were much more favorable. “At least I know that there was nothing I could have done to run 2:21 here today,” Tom considered. “We had a nice group there going for it.”

Abby looked to defy the odds as well. She kept on pace for a qualifier for a long time. Eventually though, the heat was just too much. Before the race, Abby said she truly felt she was “in 2:45 shape. Of course, that did not leave me much room to adjust my pace for the heat. I read that the temperature was 88 degrees by 10 AM. Anyway, I really struggled to get into a rhythm from the start, and I never felt good at any point. By mile 13, I was slowing down and was not sure if I could get the pace back. By mile 18, I knew there was no way I was going to make the time.”

MEANWHILE, BART HAD COOLER CONDITIONS, but not by much. Months before, Bart decided to take his shot at a Fall marathon closer to home, opting for the promising Steamtown Marathon in Scranton, PA. Despite its small size and lack of a deep field, Steamtown has been beneficial to many a runner (not excluding past champion and PRTC member Matt Byrne). Steamtown annually offers cool conditions, as the race takes place north of the Poconos. It also provides a quick course … as long as the runners remember to not let themselves go too much in the first ten miles (which is literally a net downhill).

Bart has made great leaps in his training and fitness, capped off with a stint in Mammoth Lakes, California. This day could definitely have seen Bart post a PR worth a couple of minutes. But Bart was going to feel the sapping effects of humidity as well. Bart said he felt decent at the start, but his splits were not coming to him as he would like. He started the race in the mid to high 5:30s, but quickly began a concerted effort to bring his splits down. Bart found himself passing and then being passed by other members of the lead pack.

Before reaching mile 20, Bart knew that a goal time of approximately 2:25 was not in the cards. The weather conditions just wouldn’t allow. Still, Bart gamely fought on, looking to crack 2:30. “But my legs felt drained,” Bart explained. Add the weather conditions to the distance, and that feeling is certainly understandable. Still, by the end of the race, Bart managed to finish in the top ten and post a career PR!

ON A DAY WHEN HEAT AND HUMIDITY BLANKETED MOST OF THE COUNTRY and severely affected two of the biggest races in the country (there was one death each reported at both the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon and Army 10 Miler), PRTC and Puma want to express how proud they are of their athletes. These athletes’ times and their finishes are both testaments to their character.

The LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon 2007
Men’s Team
Tom Haxton, 30th Place, 2:34.38
Ross Martinson, 45th Place, 2:38.43

Women’s Team
Abby Dean, 15th Place (7th American), 2:56.24

Steamtown Marathon 2007
Bart Borghuis, 10th Place, 2:32.04 *PR*